Thursday, 18 May 2017

A big day of birdwatching in Toowoomba

Brown cuckoo-dove (Macropygia phasianella), Redwood.
Last Saturday, I took part in a ‘Global Big Day’ held by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and their birdwatching website, ‘eBird’.

For the uninitiated, a ‘big day’ (or month, year, etc) is a birdwatching colloquialism that refers to the act of finding as many birds as possible within the designated timeframe, something which I had not partaken in before.

I decided that I would try find 100 bird species or more out in Toowoomba, a place I have never visited.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

There be dragons on Plunkett's sandstone!

Tommy roundhead, Cedar Creek.

On Good Friday, I hiked with some friends up into the rugged sandstone country of Plunkett Regional Park, a beauty of a reserve found at the southern end of Logan.

Joseph’s Coat moths (Agarista agricola), flowering slug herbs (Murdannia graminea) and a common bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera) all made for enjoyable sights, but the highlight was a tiny dragon that crossed our paths on one of the more elevated trails.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Suburb Guide: Annerley

Norman Creek, as it passes to the south of Arnwood Place.

Just under three square kilometres in size, Annerley might be a small inner-suburb of Brisbane, but it is rich in wildlife nevertheless. This is largely due to the life-sustaining qualities of Norman Creek flowing through the eastern extremity of the suburb—elsewhere, with Ipswich Road splitting the area right down the middle, urbanisation has taken its toll.

Featured areas: (1) Arnwood Place, (2) Lagonda Park,
(3) Suburban Annerley, (4) Fanny Street Park, and
(5) Ekibin Park South; Image courtesy of Google Maps.
Situated just a short distance away from the Brisbane River, Annerley sits upon soils derived from sedimentary rock, and would have been cloaked in a mix of dry and wet eucalypt forest before it was cleared for dairy farming; the vegetation along Norman Creek would have been particularly dense, being home to a mix of littoral rainforest species. This latter ecosystem would have been an especially rich hunting and foraging ground for a small Indigenous camp that lived in the area where the Arnwood Place childcare centre sits today.

In the present day, the green spaces in the suburb are quite limited, but this hasn’t stopped a dedicated bushcare community from restoring these areas into impressive revegetation sites teeming with wildlife, some of which are looked at below.

Monday, 27 February 2017

The verdict is in: Maleny meet-up a hoot!

Southern boobook; Photo by Matteo Grilli.

A group of six nature enthusiasts joined me for a walk around Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve last Sunday, where we were met with a wonderful array of wildlife, plants and fungi.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Summer birds flock to the Sunshine Coast

White-faced heron (Egretta novaeholandiae), Burpengary East.

With the exceedingly hot start we’ve had to 2017, I’ve spent most of my “wildlife time” searching either for frogs in the comparative cool of the night, or in the water looking at fish. This week, however, a slightly cooler, unstable air mass swept in, and I decided to make the most of it with a full day of birding north of Brisbane.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Wild BNE summer meet-up: Maleny

Some of the plants and trees in the reserveincluding this wonga vine (Pandorea pandorana)are ancient.

Boardwalk section.
In the heat of summer, one of the best places to escape the sun is the rainforest. With this in mind, I’ll be hosting the Wild BNE summer meet-up at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve in Maleny at the end of this month, where we can have great wildlife sightings and not melt into a puddle of sweat! 😎

Flying-fox camp.
It will be an early start to maximise the wildlife sightings, of which we can expect plenty. Mary Cairncross is a great place for mammal viewing, and we will be spending time with red-legged pademelons (Thylogale stigmatica) and black flying-foxes (Pteropus alecto) in particular. Rainforest birds abound—over 100 species of birds have been recorded in the reserve! Some that I am hoping to see include the Australian king-parrot (Alisterus scapularis), noisy pitta (Pitta versicolor) and russet-tailed thrush (Zoothera heinei). The more eyes, the better, so come along and spot something you’ve never seen before!

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Jumping for joy: Springbrook's frogs thrill onlookers

Red-eyed tree frog, Springbrook.

Last Sunday evening, I headed up into the Gold Coast hinterland to attend a frog-spotting walk organised by Ceris Ash of the Springbrook Wildlife Appreciation Group.

Meeting at the Springbrook Community Hall at 7:15pm, I joined a lovely group of people led by Adam Maund, a local wildlife expert and talented photographer, who found a great selection of stunning frogs for us to admire.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Suburb Guide: Boondall

The swamp oak forest in the Boondall Wetlands is a place of great beauty and peace.

Featured areas: (1) Brisbane Entertainment Centre, (2) Boondall
Wetlands Reserve, (3) Suburban Boondall, and (4) Frank
Sleeman Park; Image courtesy of Google Maps.
Home to Brisbane’s largest wetlands, Boondall is a suburb that should be familiar to any South-east Queensland nature enthusiast. Located 15 kilometres north of the Brisbane CBD, the suburb is positioned on a flat coastal floodplain bound by a number of estuarine waterways, including the lower reaches of Cabbage Tree Creek in the north, and Nundah Creek in the east. Over the years, Boondall has grown from a quiet little community into a busy residential area that is home to almost 10,000 people. Sandgate Road and the Gateway Motorway cut through the suburb, each coming to a standstill during peak hour as traffic flows in and out of the city. This urban pressure has had a noticeable effect on the wildlife of the area, and roadkill is a common sight along the edges of the Gateway Motorway (M1) where it adjoins the Boondall Wetlands. 

Prior to urbanisation, much of the area was farmed or was owned and left as unused land by the Catholic Church. Before this, however, the land belonged to the Turrbal people for many thousands of years. The landscape would have likely been quite similar to what exists in the Boondall Wetlands today, with food aplenty found in the coastal forests and estuaries.

Alongside the wetlands themselves, a number of interesting natural areas still exist in Boondall, explored further below.